In Memoriam|

Photo: Paul Vance | From Wikipedia | Paul Vance (born Joseph Paul Florio; November 4, 1929 – May 30, 2022) was an American songwriter and record producer. His most successful song compositions, all written with Lee Pockriss, included “Catch a Falling Star”, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini”, and “Tracy”.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York. With over 300 recorded songs, Vance co-wrote (with Lee Pockriss) such hits as “Catch a Falling Star,” recorded in 1957 by Perry Como, which topped Billboard’s “Most Played By Jockeys” chart and became one of Como’s signature songs, and “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini,” recorded in 1960 by Brian Hyland, which rose to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Vance got the idea for “Itsy Bitsy Bikini” because his daughter was too shy to wear a bikini in public. The song was a Top 10 hit in other countries around the world. In 1959, Vance and Pockriss released a single for Columbia Records as ‘Lee and Paul,’ a novelty tune called “The Chick.” Vance and Pockriss also provided English lyrics for the song “Calcutta”. “What Will Mary Say”, a Top 10 hit for the singer Johnny Mathis in 1963, was written by Vance with Eddie Snyder.

In 1964, Vance and Pockriss wrote a song entitled “Leader of The Laundromat,” a spoof of the then-popular “Leader of the Pack” by the Shangri-Las, and Vance produced a recording of the track by a trio consisting of Ron Dante, Tommy Wynn, and Vance’s nephew Danny Jordan. The record was released under the name the Detergents, and its success led to an album, The Many Faces Of The Detergents, which Vance produced and for which he, along with Pockriss, penned all the songs. The release of “Leader of the Laundromat” earned a lawsuit against the group by “Leader Of The Pack” composers Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and George “Shadow” Morton. Dante would later work alongside Barry as lead vocalist for the Archies.
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In 1972, Vance and Pockriss penned “Playground In My Mind,” which was recorded by Clint Holmes, and became a 1973 #2 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, where it remained for 23 weeks. The single was awarded gold record status on July 3, 1973. Vance’s son, Philip, sang on the refrain on the recording along with Holmes. In 1974, Vance discovered singer/songwriter Joseph Nicoletti, later a successful singer of commercial jingles, and recorded “Changing Colors” with Nicoletti on RCA Records. Vance co-wrote and produced the song “Run Joey Run” for David Geddes in 1975; the song reached the top 5 on the Billboard charts that year. The female vocals on the song were provided by Vance’s daughter Paula, who had earlier inspired “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini.”
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In October 2009, Vance was nominated for induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
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False report of death
On September 6, 2006, a man named Paul van Valkenburgh of Ormond Beach, Florida, died from complications of lung cancer. An obituary published in The News-Times of Danbury, Connecticut repeated Van Valkenburgh’s claim that he had written the song “Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka-Dot Bikini” under the pen name of Paul Vance, but that he had sold his rights to the song decades earlier. The report was picked up by the Associated Press, which ran a short obituary of Vance based on both the News-Times obituary and information received from Van Valkenburgh’s widow. The AP obituary was picked up by newspapers and other media outlets worldwide.

Vance contacted local media after viewing a report of his death on a local television news broadcast. He announced that he was still alive and was able to prove his identity to reporters with a stack of royalty checks from ASCAP for his songwriting. He told a reporter for The New York Times that his relatives and friends, shocked by the Associated Press report, had called to check on him after the media reports, and that two racehorses he owned had been scratched from races based on the reports. Vance also told the Times that he was considering legal action, since licensees outside the United States might be confused by the false report of his death and discontinue making royalty payments. He was quoted as saying, “Believe me, if they think you’re dead, they ain’t going to send the money.”

In September 2014, after eight years in the making, Vance published his memoir, titled Catch a Falling Star.

Vance resided in Boca Raton, Florida. His son, Philip, who sang the chorus of “Playground in my Mind” with Clint Holmes, died on December 11, 2009, at age 44.

Vance died on May 30, 2022, at the age of 92.
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Read Mr. Vance’s bio here:

For a list of songs written by Mr. Vance, go to https://secondhandsongs.com/artist/24969/works

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Our music community continues to lose our talented artists to COVID-19 and suicides – staggering loses. We are going to miss them so much. Please also note the passing of Ronnie Hawkins and Andy Fletcher for whom many articles have been written. If you want to know more about any of the musicians we lost, please check them out at http://www.wikipedia.com

June 2022

2: Gracia Montes, 86, Spanish copla singer; Bhajan Sopori, 73–74, Indian santoor player.

1: Deborah McCrary, 67, American gospel singer (The McCrary Sisters).

May 2022
31: KK, 53, Indian playback singer (Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam, Humraaz, Om Shanti Om), cardiac arrest; Dave Smith, 71–72, American sound engineer, founder of Sequential.

30: Paul Vance, 92, American songwriter (“Catch a Falling Star”, “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikini”, “Tracy”) and record producer.

29: Steve Broughton, 72, British rock drummer (Edgar Broughton Band); Dakis, 78, Greek singer; Ronnie Hawkins, 87, American-Canadian rock and roll singer-songwriter; Ma Jinfeng, 99, Chinese Henan opera performer; Sidhu Moose Wala, 28, Indian singer (“47”), actor (Moosa Jatt, Yes I Am Student) and politician, shot.

28: Edava Basheer, 78, Indian singer; Vadim Saralidze, 62, Russian violinist, writer and radio presenter; Victor von Halem, 82, German operatic bass singer, Deutsche Oper Berlin.

27: Juan José Mosalini, 78, Argentine bandoneon* player.

26: Andy Fletcher, 60, English Hall of Fame keyboardist (Depeche Mode); Teodor Kukuruza, 65, Ukrainian poet, composer and singer; Bill Walker, 95, Australian-born American composer and conductor; Alan White, 72, English Hall of Fame drummer (Yes, Plastic Ono Band).

25: Jean-Louis Chautemps, 90, French jazz saxophonist.

24: Guillaume Bideau, 44, French heavy metal vocalist (Mnemic).

* The bandoneon (or bandonion, Spanish: bandoneón) is a type of concertina particularly popular in Argentina and Uruguay. It is a typical instrument in most tango ensembles. As with other members of the concertina family, the bandoneon is held between the hands, and by pulling and pushing actions force air through bellows and then routing air through particular reeds as by pressing the instrument’s buttons. Bandoneons have a different sound from accordions, because bandoneons do not usually have the register switches that are common on accordions. Nevertheless, the tone of the bandoneon can be changed a great deal using varied bellows pressure and overblowing, thus creating potential for expressive playing and diverse timbres.


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